EXCLUSIVE: Pep plundering the Premier League… Swansea's Chico lined up to join Suarez at Bayern
11:39 GMT, 30 January 2013
11:45 GMT, 30 January 2013
Pep Guardiola is considering a shock move to sign Swansea City defender Chico Flores when he takes over at Bayern Munich in the summer.
The former Barcelona boss is a huge fan of the eccentric centre-half and in 2008 signed him on loan from Cadiz for Barcelona B. He was keen to take Chico with him to the senior team when he was promoted later that year, but could not reach a deal with Cadiz.
Guardiola has stayed in contact with the 25-year-old and Sportsmail understands he spoke to him as recently as last week, with a source close to both parties claiming a bid could follow soon after he takes the reins at the Allianz Arena from Jupp Heynckes in July.
Case for the defence: Chico has been outstanding for Swansea this season
Should such an extraordinary deal materialise, it would cap a fine season for the Spaniard.
After some shaky early performances following his 2million summer move from Genoa, Chico has impressed immensely at the Liberty Stadium and his partnership with Ashley Williams has developed into one of the Premier League’s most effective. On the past four occasions in which they have both started, Swansea have kept a clean sheet.
Indeed, Chico was one of the best players on the pitch in last night’s 0-0 draw at Sunderland, having produced a man-of-the-match performance in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea last week.
Old acquaintances: Guardiola worked with Chico at Barcelona B
The former Spain Under-21 international is also close to a full cap after national manager Vicente del Bosque watched him impress in the 0-0 draw at Everton on January 12.
Swansea’s position in any future negotiations will be strengthened by the fact Chico still has two years remaining on the deal he signed last summer.
But it would be close to impossible for the defender to turn down Guardiola, who he described as ‘a great man’ in an interview with Sportsmail last month.
Strong position: Chico still has two years left on his deal at Swansea
Referring to the time he spent on loan at Barcelona B, during which they were promoted to the third tier of Spanish football, he said: ‘It was a wonderful education. All the memories I have from that time playing with Pep Guardiola are really positive.
‘Pep is very close to the players. He was and is a great but he is very modest, he behaves as one of us. It went well for me. Pep wanted to take me to the first team but Cadiz wanted too much money. That was it.
Mentor: The former Genoa man has the utmost respect for Guardiola
‘I still have a book that Pep gave me. It’s called Learning to Lose. He helped all the players there so much.
‘When you have the playing career he had, it creates so much respect. It is a very similar thing with (Michael) Laudrup (the Swansea manager).’